In today’s connected world, machines can communicate and coordinate with each other in ways that were not possible before. These brilliant machines are changing the way businesses work, enabling them to optimize efficiencies, boost productivity, reduce costs, and bring products and services to market faster. This major transformation is powered by the industrial Internet—which combines advances in computing and data collection to deliver advanced analytics to industry.
Optimizing your current operations
By connecting your machines and industrial big data, the industrial Internet enables you to better understand your operations. You can visualize how your assets and processes are behaving in real time and know what events occurred. What’s more, you can drive operations to their fullest potential based on key parameters such as market demand, weather conditions, plant environment, and load balancing.
Say you are a mining company and you need better visibility into your complex production processes to best control your operations. Solutions powered by the industrial Internet can, for example, help you monitor your processes and control loops. When a control loop is insufficient, you can quickly identify what changed and why. You can get to the root cause of the issue and gain better insight into your process and control problems to minimize deviations from set parameters.
The result: greater consistency, process optimization, and safe production.
In addition, to capture the full potential of optimization, you not only need to understand the current state of your operations, but also be able to predict what will happen. Although industrial machines have always issued early warnings, they were inconsistent and presented so that details often crowded out the most critical information. The advent of networked machines with embedded sensors and advanced analytics tools has changed that reality. Now you can leverage advanced analytics in context to predict, providing real-time operational intelligence to the people who need it to make the best decisions. Thus, you have intelligent foresight to take appropriate action and proactively avoid issues—a powerful capability that allows continuous operation.
Industrial Internet maturity model
To help companies take the industrial Internet journey, we developed the industrial Internet maturity model. It helps you assess where your organization falls on the spectrum of expected maturity or capabilities within the industrial Internet and discover the best solution pathway to achieve your business priorities.
There are five key steps in the model that build on each other to help you optimize performance:
- Connect: Provides the foundation to connect your machines and lets you collect data from your assets and processes and manage that data to derive value.
- Monitor: Focuses on helping you understand the performance of your assets and processes and visualize events.
- Analyze: Helps determine the root cause of issues based on historical and real-time data so you understand relationships, correlations, and trends, and can effectively troubleshoot problems.
- Predict: Focuses on providing foresight into impending problems so you can avoid issues and drive greater process consistency and asset uptime.
- Optimize: Maximizes the performance potential of your assets and processes to achieve your desired outcomes and leverage the benefits of the industrial Internet.
The value of the model is that it is a solid solution path toward optimization. The assessment can be done across various levels—from your core assets and adjacent assets, to across your facility and enterprise. You can understand where your business is today in terms of adopting the industrial Internet and determine where you want to be in the future.
Ultimately, the industrial Internet allows you to combine brilliant machines with best-in-class analytics to deliver valuable new insights. The results of these insights can empower your business to avoid unplanned downtime, maximize profitability, and transform your technology infrastructure.
Forward-looking companies have begun to embrace the industrial Internet to drive new performance highs and generate value like never before. They are leveraging connectivity and analytics to achieve their business priorities—whether it is increasing throughput, improving product quality, driving resource efficiency, shortening response times, or other valuable outcomes.
The industrial Internet is a journey—one that can lead businesses to a new wave of productivity gains and performance optimization. And it has meaningful implications for us all.
About the Author
Bernie Anger is CEO of Abaco Systems. He previously was general manager of GE’s Intelligent Platforms Business, a business unit within GE Industrial Solutions. A native of Argentina, Anger studied economics at Universidad de Buenos Aires and earned an MBA from Universidad Torcuato di Tella.
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A version of this article also was published at InTech magazine.
Click here to read Bernie Anger's article at InTech magazine.